5.8/10
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23 user 17 critic

Screaming Mimi (1958)

Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and ... See full summary »

Director:

Gerd Oswald

Writers:

Robert Blees (screenplay by), Fredric Brown (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Anita Ekberg ... Virginia Wilson / Yolanda Lange
Philip Carey ... Bill Sweeney
Gypsy Rose Lee ... Joann 'Gypsy' Masters
Harry Townes ... Dr. Greenwood / Bill Green
Linda Cherney Linda Cherney ... Ketti
Romney Brent ... Charlie Weston
Red Norvo ... Red Yost
Red Norvo Trio Red Norvo Trio ... Red Norvo Trio
Alan Gifford ... Capt. Bline
Oliver McGowan Oliver McGowan ... Walter Krieg
Stephen Ellsworth Stephen Ellsworth ... Dr. Joseph Robinson
Vaughn Taylor ... Raoul Reynarde
Frank J. Scannell Frank J. Scannell ... Paul, the Bartender
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Storyline

Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and takes over her life, although she insists on continuing her career at the El Madhouse nightclub. The club's tough owner is none other than Gypsy Rose Lee who plays 'Gypsy' and sings an incredibly bad song ("Put the Blame on Mame") when Virginia is late one night. The traumatized Virginia is suspected of a series of murders. Each victim had purchased a contorted sculpture of a woman called the Screaming Mimi, which was created by her step-brother Charlie who was also responsible for shooting her attacker. It's up to a handsome columnist Bill Sweeny to figure it all out. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The stripper who went too far... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 August 1958 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

La locura de Mimí See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sage Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Red Norvo Trio (the musicians in Joann's club) is really a quartet. See more »

Quotes

Bill Sweeney: How tall are you, Yolanda?
Virginia Wilson aka Yolanda Lange: With heels or without?
Bill Sweeney: With anyone. Me, for instance.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Becoming Anita Ekberg (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
(uncredited)
Music by Henry Tucker
Lyrics by George Cooper
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Late noir oddly recalls haunting cheapies of a decade earlier
30 April 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Somehow surmounting a creaky script rooted in some crackpot psychiatry, Screaming Mimi creates a somnambulistic, doom-laden mood that keeps you watching, bemused. And that's not easily explained.

The director, Gerd Oswald, was one of the lesser expatriates from Germany, a pedestrian workman who the year before helmed Crime of Passion, a jejune noir starring Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden and Raymond Burr; it's hard to extinguish the sizzle in that kind of cast, but Oswald did a pretty fair job of it.

In Screaming Mimi, he was saddled with the sort of rounded-up cast that doesn't incite box office stampedes. Anita Ekberg, - the Swedish bombshell with the storied bosom - proves oddly affecting in the numbed-out role she's called on to play. And society stripper Gypsy Rose Lee supplies a welcome bit of sass as proprietress of a nightclub called El Madhouse. But the male leads emerged from the La Brea tar pits of Hollywood anonymity. Philip Carey passes as sort of a poor man's Gary Merrill (that is to say, absolutely penniless), while Harry Townes, an even more faceless actor, makes up the roster.

The plot? Ekberg, an exotic `dancer' who writhes about suggestively in an act with bondage overtones, is visiting her sculptor-stepbrother on the California coast when she's almost knifed by an escapee from a nearby asylum, whom the brother promptly shoots dead. In consequence, Ekberg winds up in the selfsame asylum where her smitten shrink (Townes) arranges her release and, in a development reminiscent of The Blue Angel or Sunset Boulevard, leaves his post to manage her career (as `Yolanda Lang').

Then one night she's stabbed (again), but her vicious great dane wards off the attacker. Carey, a columnist whose curiously broad beat includes night clubs and crime in the night, grows intrigued, and stumbles onto the fact that both Ekberg and an earlier victim possessed strange statuettes called Screaming Mimis....

It's a jumble, all right, but it manages to hold some interest. A large part of the credit must, by default, fall to top-notch cinematographer Burnett Guffey, by far the most talented factor in the movie. (He films one scene in the light from a flashing neon sign, alternating between a two-shot and daringly long intervals of pitch blackness.) The movie shares a restive, oneiric quality with certain low-budget noirs from a decade earlier, that again compelled more attention than they deserved. Go figure.


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